About IRT

Our History

Black and white photo of the Atheneum Turners Building theatre with workers installing theatre seats.

Photo from IRT archives

Founded in 1972 by Ben Mordecai, Greg Poggi, and Ed Stern, the Indiana Repertory Theatre has grown into one of the leading regional theatres in the country, as well as one of the top-flight cultural institutions in the city and state. In 1991 Indiana’s General Assembly designated the IRT as “Theatre Laureate” of the state of Indiana. The IRT’s national reputation has been confirmed by prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Fund, the Theatre Communications Group–Pew Charitable Trusts, the Shubert Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation, and by a Joyce Award from the Joyce Foundation.

The IRT remains the largest fully professional resident not-for-profit theatre in the state, providing 100,000 live professional theatre experiences for its audience in a typical season. The Theatre regularly serves thousands of students from more than half of Indiana’s 92 counties, making the IRT one of the most youth-oriented professional theatres in the country. A staff of year-round employees creates seven productions exclusively for Indiana audiences. Actors, directors, and designers are members of professional stage unions.

The IRT’s history has been enacted in two historic downtown theatres. The Athenaeum Turners Building housed the company’s first eight seasons. Since 1980 the IRT has occupied the 1927 Indiana Theatre, which was renovated to contain three performance spaces (OneAmerica Stage, Upperstage, and Cabaret) and work spaces, reviving this historic downtown entertainment site.

Black and white photo of the Atheneum Turners Building theatre with workers installing theatre seats.
Athenaeum Turners Building from IRT archives

To keep ticket prices and services affordable for the entire community, the IRT operates as a not-for-profit organization, deriving more than 50% of its operating income from contributions. The theatre is generously supported by foundations, corporations, and individuals, an investment that recognizes the IRT’s mission-based commitment to serving Central Indiana with top-quality theatrical fare.


Our Programs

  • The OneAmerica Season includes six productions from classical to contemporary, including the Inclusion Series.
  • Young Playwrights in Process The IRT offers Young Playwrights in Process (YPiP), a playwriting contest and workshop for Indiana middle and high school students.
  • Community Gathering Place Located in a beautiful historic landmark, the IRT offers a wide variety of unique and adaptable spaces for family, business, and community gatherings of all types. Please email Jacob Lang, House Manager, at jlang@irtlive.com or call 317.916.4872 for more information.
  • Volunteer Opportunities The IRT depends on the generous donation of time and energy by volunteer ushers; please email Jacob Lang, House Manager, at jlang@irtlive.com or call 317.916.4872 to learn how you can become involved.
  • Meet the Artists Regularly scheduled pre-show chats and post-show discussions offer audiences unique insights into each production.
  • Student Matinees The IRT continues a long-time commitment to student audiences with live school-day student matinee performances of all IRT productions. This season, A Christmas Carol will also be available to schools for streaming. These performances are augmented with educational activities and curriculum support materials.
  • Educational Programs Auxiliary services offered include visiting artists in the classroom, study guides, pre- and post-show discussions, and guided tours of the IRT’s facilities.
  • Classes From creative dramatics to audition workshops to Shakespeare seminars, the IRT offers a wide array of personal learning opportunities for all ages, including our Summer Conservatory for Youth. Call 317.916.4842 for further information.

From the Archives

See Our Production History